But sometimes, more often than seems entirely reassuring, something confusing occurs: We come across people who triumphed at school but flunked at life. And vice versa. The former stars who once knew exactly how to satisfy their teachers may now be flatlining in a law office or relocating to a provincial town in the hope of finding something better.
The longer I spend time homeschooling my oldest and the more I become more invested in the future of my children through education the more that I become aware of this dynamic.
Of course, what we also see are those that did poorly in school but who are thriving and living promising and exciting lives. I count myself in this bucket a bit as I was not a “star” in school and, quite frankly, struggled a lot.
And for a long time I thought of myself as a failure, especially when I literally failed out of my college computer science program. But I found my way and I learned that life is bigger than a letter on a sheet of paper telling me how good I was or how promising my life would be.
Think about this for a moment:
This helps to explain the many bad habits schools inculcate: They suggest that the most important things are already known; that what is is all that could be. They can’t help but warn us about the dangers of originality. They want us to put up our hands and wait to be asked. They want us to keep asking other people for permission. They teach us to deliver on, rather than change, expectations. They teach us to redeploy ideas rather than originate them.
And then this hits home:
They teach us everything other than the two skills that really determine the quality of adult life; knowing how to choose the right job for us and knowing how to form satisfactory relationships.